HALL RIGHT NOW Special: Back to the future
By Mike Hall
Monday 05 Oct 2009 23:55:00
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"And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
He chortled in his joy.

Lewis Carroll would have been proud of the Alice in Wonderland saga that has gripped Pompey since May 27th. Finally it has come to an end tonight, on Monday, October the 5th 2009.

Let us hope that it is as much a beginning as an end. The words leaking from around the new owners previously tight-lipped operation seem to exude a level of confidence not seen at Fratton Park since the first month of Sasha Gaydamaks reign. This time though there seem to be less caveats around and more bold intent to put Pompey back on the footballing map. The smell of real money is in the air.

Clearly, this time homework has been done and we may well see an impact beyond the club, in terms of the Northern Quarter development and more. Developing Fratton Park seems to be the first stop, with eyes on Horsea Island as a long term project. The Training Ground is expected to become a reality and the consortium has very substantial funds to take the club forward.

These sort of rumours I can handle.

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In the last few weeks, Pompey have stood up to be counted, a fact that has begun to be slowly acknowledged by pundits and journalists alike. The players have given everything in a magnificent effort to get the season under way. The manager has lead from the front and filled a leadership vaccuum while its long term and much put-upon executive leader, Peter Storrie, battled creditors, owners and media.

Most of all, the fan fightback that started at Villa Park, rose to old levels of intensity and passion at Carlisle. It saw an extraordinary ovation and support for a 7th straight defeat against Everton and filled a corner of Molineux with joyous celebration. A sense of the eternal resilience of the club and its determination to fight that Alan Ball sensed and loved was felt again. Bally often lovingly described his first real encounter with Pompey, when during his playing days he decided to take in a game at Bournemouth as Pompey struggled to stay in Division 3. Over 10,000 Pompey fans had made the short trip and were literally hanging from the rafters and standing on the roofs watching the match. He said this was a club that had something special about it, and he was right.

Peter Storrie said a mouthful when said it is a special club and worth saving. It is. And the one thing that I want from this takeover is that it builds a future that retains the best of us.

What shall it profit a club if it gains all the money and trophies in the world but forfeits its soul? That was a question much asked when we won the Cup and found long term fans still walking away disillusioned.

The measure of success of this takeover will be if the circle between the need for great facilities and some really good players can be squared with ensuring they are still watched by a crowd containing 15,000 mushs.

The views of Mike Hall are his own and don't necessarily reflect those of pompey-fans.com. ContactMike here: hallrightnow@pompey-fans.com

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